Projecting Receptions by Position: NFC East

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Dallas Cowboys

2017 Totals
Dak Prescott: 308 completions on 490 attempts
WR Group: 183 Receptions
RB Group: 57 Receptions
TE Group: 69 Receptions

2018 Projections
Dak Prescott: 325 completions on 500 attempts
WR Group: 205 Receptions
RB Group: 75 Receptions
TE Group: 45 Receptions

The Cowboys’ brass have made it clear that they intend to reconfigure this offense around Dak Prescott’s skillset, so I have to imagine Dak will be a little more efficient than last year’s sophomore slump. He’s been pretty consistent on attempts the past two years (490 attempts last year, on track for 481 the year prior had he played all of week 17), and while a heavier focus on RPO may very well replace some passing attempts with QB runs, a more effective offense should also produce more total plays. Balancing all this, I’m expecting a similar number of pass attempts to his first two years, somewhere around 500. Splitting the difference for accuracy between his rookie and sophomore years, I’m expecting about a 65% completion rate, which translates to 325 completions.

Losing Dez Bryant and Jason Witten leaves a lot of catches up for grabs; 132, to be precise. Dez’s vacated catches should stay within the WR group since Dallas brought in Allen Hurns and drafted 2 more receivers. Witten’s catches are a different story. Rico Gathers doesn’t quite have the same magical ability to meander his way to a first down on 3rd and long, and newly drafted Dalton Schultz appears to be more blocker than receiver (quite frankly, even if he does wind up being more of a receiver he’s still a first year TE; historically, not a reliable fantasy position to be in). Somebody has to take that security blanket role, which leads me to believe that Witten’s catches will be split between the other checkdown targets; Cole Beasley out of the slot and Ezekiel Elliott/Rod Smith out of the backfield. Beasley in particular seems poised to return to 2016 form (75/833/5), but that’s an exercise for another time.

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